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Old 24-07-2010, 21:09   #16
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i have always wondered why it is that of the boats hit by lightning, most seem to have been protected..why is it the protected boats get hit. why did we sail for a near year , finding lightning stporms as often as they found us , yet, we didnt suffer the unfortunate hit--thank the gods....maine sail--was your boat protected? i am curious--we were not -- we still are not....so far, the kat, crock and gloves are doing well--i think i will try for the rubber hat, also----if there were a really truly way to protect the boat -- what would it be--the man hit 2 times in 4 yrs is a NASA engineer--yipes??
how does one protect from a totally random occurrance.....abject fear doesnt work, i know that---lol is me--scary stuff, lightning--i been afraid of it all my life. but i am able now to sail thru it if i HAVE to....(shiver)......
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Old 25-07-2010, 05:04   #17
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... how does one protect from a totally random occurrance ...
One doesn’t protect, one mitigates.
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Old 25-07-2010, 05:26   #18
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i have always wondered why it is that of the boats hit by lightning, most seem to have been protected..why is it the protected boats get hit.
I've had the distinction of being struck while under way. I lost just about all electric/electronics connected to boat wiring. The boat and crew were just fine. My boat was ... and still is 'unprotected'. photos and link to the damage and the Southwinds article on my experience are here:

Struck by Lightning while sailing

I can see from some of the comments in this thread that folks don't seem to be aware that when you head for the tropics in your boat, storms and lightning are part of every day life.

As for the protected vs unprotected debate, well, it still rages. Marlon thru hulls and two inboard engines provided the correct path for the strike to exit my boat, however, I can't offer any guidance on protecting electronics other than to place them in a faraday cage .. where of course, they're protected but unusable ..
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Old 01-08-2010, 14:11   #19
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One doesn’t protect, one mitigates.
There you go again using those $10 words that nobody can read - - try

One doesn't protect, one can reduce the odds of being hit.

Like Las Vegas, the odds are variable and can be for you or against you depending upon way too many variables. The most cost-effective aspect is to prepare the boat - to take a hit and to survive with minimal damage.
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Old 07-12-2010, 21:25   #20
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ABYC recently downgraded their lightning protection "standard" E-4 to a "technical report" TE-4.

I found this article interesting
See http://www.marinelightning.com/EXCHANGEOct2007Final.pdf

It references:
1. “A Critical Assessment of the US Code for lightning Protection of Boats” by E.M. Thomson, IEEE Trans EMC, Vol.3, pp.132-138, 1991
2. TE-4 Lightning Protection, 2006 edition, ABYC, 613 Third Street, Suite 10, Annapolis, MD 21403 2006
3. NFPA 780-2008 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems 2008 Edition, Chapter 8, National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471

I support attempts at science in this matter - there's been too much snake oil in the past.
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Old 08-12-2010, 16:32   #21
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To my understanding from reading this thread if you take measures to protect yourself from being hit, you are only trying to channel the energy in a controlled manner. Therefor minimizing the damage that could occur, but by doing so you are creating a better channel to the water (ground) and therefor increasing the likelihood of getting hit compared to the other boats around you. In any case lightning is unpredictable, so it is better to be safe then sorry. as a precaution if your caught in a lightning storm i would kill the power to all your electronics, only turning on navigational equipment periodically to see how "on course" you are. Or if you have lower quality backup electronics use them instead.

Dont take my word for it thou, i'm still very new to cruising. this is just what I have gathered from everyone on here and past experience.
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Old 08-12-2010, 16:40   #22
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Paper charts, triangles, and pencils will still work just fine.
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Old 08-12-2010, 16:54   #23
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i still like my kat, crocs, rubber hoodie and gloves.....makes just as much sense as any o9ther method i ever saw--and hasnt been proven wrong as yet.
dont forget that nasa engineer in slidell, louisiana who was struck 2 times in 4 yrs-- because his engineering was excellent--second time nearly got the house as well. so much for scientific planning, in my brain.
btw--was (yes-WAS ) a 50 ft bendytoy. toasted. and all wires connecting to house to 1/3 way from boat to house. NASA engineering.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:00   #24
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To my understanding from reading this thread if you take measures to protect yourself from being hit, you are only trying to channel the energy in a controlled manner. Therefor minimizing the damage that could occur, but by doing so you are creating a better channel to the water (ground) and therefor increasing the likelihood of getting hit compared to the other boats around you. In any case lightning is unpredictable, so it is better to be safe then sorry. as a precaution if your caught in a lightning storm i would kill the power to all your electronics, only turning on navigational equipment periodically to see how "on course" you are. Or if you have lower quality backup electronics use them instead.

Dont take my word for it thou, i'm still very new to cruising. this is just what I have gathered from everyone on here and past experience.
Lightning is a rather nebulous subject because Mother Nature tends to do what she wants and not necessarily what our studies and elementary physics books say. There are a few very good papers published on the subject to help one understand how and why lightning occurs and everyday a new discovery sheds more light (ning) on the subject.
- - Basically, there is no way to "protect" your boat from getting hit. But there are things you can do to "lower the odds" of getting hit as compared to other boats around you. I consider this half of the lightning/boat subject to be "Part A."
- - Part "B" is what can you do to minimize the damage that a few million or so volts of electrical energy can do to your boat. This is where providing a straight and large sized electrical pathway from masthead to ocean comes into play. The "theory" being that if you do not provide any choking or restrictions to the flow of the energy, you will have less damage. As stated it is a "theory."
- - Then you get to the "Las Vegas" factor - how much are you willing to spend in money and time protecting your boat from a statistically small possibility of getting hit. Just like the State Lotteries where on average only 1 participating person out of 25 million lottery purchasers will win - there are other more immediate hazards to your boats survival that could use that money.
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